Today, as we walked to school, my daughter told me she didn't like school.
"Why?" I ask.
"Because I can't talk."
Now, you have to understand the background behind this.
Firstly: the immediate past. I had just lost it with her completely because, despite 20 minutes to get dressed, at the time we had to leave she was playing with Lego in her bedroom, in her pyjamas and saying she didn't have a shirt. It was, of course, in the wardrobe where they are always kept: she was just distracted by play. I know, I know ... her behaviour is totally normal (perhaps even for a nearly-7-year-old), but it doesn't make it any less infuriating when I can almost hear the school bell ringing and she still has her dressing-gown on.
Secondly: her history of delayed development. She was late speaking, which we eventually put it down to glue ear and hoped was resolved by grommits. Well, it was in part, and she began to play more with others and pay attention to teachers. But, for some inexplicable reason, she still struggled to catch up. That was nearly four years ago. Despite her perfect hearing she doesn't have good grammar and mispronounces many words. She gets additional help with developing her gross motor skills: she can do everything, but then falls over a lot, or won't hop, or something. Ask her a question and she is like a bunny in the headlights: frightened, blank-faced, panicked. She won't sit still on the carpet and struggles with her numbers, in particular. We have been to speech therapy, who just believe her to be delayed, and have been on a waiting list for OT for nearly two years (not helped by moving house, of course).
Just last week we had a chat with her teachers, the headmaster and SENCO person at school. No-one can pin-point what is wrong with her, why she isn't flying through school, or at least why she is struggling to progress. They commented on her being quiet in class, not answering questions, or having her blank face look if asked directly. I must state that I have complete confidence in her school and the teachers are excellent and (whilst I am being positive) my daughter's reading skills have come on leaps and bounds over the last 6-9 months.
But today - today is the first time that she has said she doesn't like school for a reason that I fear and that I cannot quash: she can't talk. Yesterday she had also said she didn't like school, but I had ignored it, assuming it would pass. (She is the same as all other children in not liking school some days simply because she'd rather be at home watching TV!) She talks at home ... too much, her brother would say! So now I am concerned, and don't know what to do.
Should I tell the teachers? Should I expect it to pass, as it has on other days? Should I go into class and try to encourage her, or would that distract her? Should I push for one-to-one support, or is she lazy and not learning to work independently? Do I do too much with her at home, or too little, or simply the wrong things?
She is usually such a bright, cheerful, giggly little girl, and I would hate that to be squashed by the steamroller of school and education. I want to encourage a love of life and a love of learning and a love of others.
Just not quite sure how to do it. Any advice?